Filed Under: "children’s books"

Adam Parfrey, a fearless, maverick independent publisher with a robust sense of humor (and a taste for the macabre), has died at age 61. We note his passing here because Adam’s Feral House Books reprinted Jim Flora‘s legendary 1978 book Grandpa’s Ghost Stories in 2017. Just last week we signed an agreement with Feral to reprint Flora’s last (1982) book, Grandpa’s Witched-Up Christmas. Feral House was known for publishing edgy titles, and Adam was the heart and…

Continue Reading... Adam Parfrey (1957–2018)

The Fourth of July

July 4, 2012

The work isn’t titled, and there’s no specific reference to Independence Day, but this unpublished 1990s acrylic on canvas suggests celebratory patriotism and civic pride, so we’ll offer it as tribute to our nation’s founding 236 years ago today. P.S. This non sequitur works too. Illustration from The Fabulous Firework Family, Flora’s first (1955) children’s book.

Continue Reading... The Fourth of July

Pamela Paul in the New York Times reviews Enchanted Lion Books‘ new reprint of Flora’s Kangaroo for Christmas: Kangaroo for Christmas offered joy of an entirely different sort to the Sallys and Bobbys of the Mad Men era. First published in 1962, the story of little Kathryn’s astonishing gift from her Uncle Dingo showcases the marvelous period illustration of James Flora, a giant among midcentury commercial artists. Working in riotous bursts of carnation pink and…

Continue Reading... “visual pop in an off-kilter story”

Our latest Jim Flora limited edition fine art print launches today. We’ve dubbed the untitled, undated black and white work Rowayton Creature Tableau because of the strange figures populating the streets of this seaside Connecticut village (the artist’s adopted hometown). The previously uncirculated and unpublished pen & ink with watercolor drawing was discovered in the artist’s collection. We’ve analyzed the technique and determined that it reflects the 1970s style of caricature commonly found in Flora’s…

Continue Reading... Rowayton Creature Tableau (new print)

Hand-drawn two-page spread of figure studies for Flora’s third book for young readers, Charlie Yup and His Snip-Snap Boys (1959). The pages, which do not appear in the published edition, were scanned from the Dr. Irvin C. Kerlan children’s literature collection at the U of Minnesota. On the mock title page at right, the author refers to the book as “An Old Fashioned Scissor and Paper Adventure.” Although the characters above were drawn in pencil…

Continue Reading... Charlie Yup’s cast of characters

hybrid vehicle

January 19, 2011

This steamroller is obviously in violation of some vehicular maximum-occupancy statute. The question is—who gets ordered to court? Most likely young Fletcher (at the controls), the only homo sapien on the scene. He’s the most convenient scapegoat (though not the only goat). All the other animals jumped on top of the steam roller as fast as they could. It was the only safe place to be. “STOP!,” everyone was shouting. But the steam roller kept…

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Flora authored and illustrated 17 children’s books under his own name between 1955 (The Fabulous Firework Family) and 1982 (Grandpa’s Witched-Up Christmas). A milk crate in the Flora archives contains contracts and correspondence for each one. Most of the letters passed between the author/artist and his legendary editress, Margaret McElderry. The crate is also stuffed with manila folders for dozens of abandoned or rejected book ideas. Walter Beartree and the Boo-Saying Whale does not have…

Continue Reading... Walter Beartree & the Boo-Saying Whale

After Uplift, Ka-Chow!

November 29, 2010

In the Nov. 20 Wall Street Journal “Bookshelf” column, Meghan Cox Gurdon reviews Flora’s 1957 The Day The Cow Sneezed, recently reprinted by Enchanted Lion Books: “Flora’s style is about as goofily retro as it’s possible to get, with wide-eyed men in suits, amazed-looking wild animals, and an old-fashioned matte palate of red, pink, green and gray. In the story a series of wild events unfurls when a boy neglects his cow, which catches cold…

Continue Reading... After Uplift, Ka-Chow!

Flora books arrayed

November 21, 2010

Shelf display of Flora kiddie books in the office of Cynthia Johnson, director of the Rowayton (CT) Library. The glass-enclosed office is nestled behind the checkout counter, so patrons can view the display. (The plush creatures are non-Floracentric, but companionate.) Cynthia is producing a jigsaw puzzle of a 1980 cartoon map of the town rendered by its illustrious Citizen Flora, a resident from 1946 to his death in 1998. The puzzle should be available soon…

Continue Reading... Flora books arrayed

JimFlora.com has issued a low-cost ($25) fine art print of the cover of THE DAY THE COW SNEEZED, Flora’s second kiddie book. Originally published in 1957 by Harcourt, the book was just reprinted by Enchanted Lion. Our 11″ x 8-1/2″ print features the complete cover art (used on both editions), including Flora’s playful hand-cut letters. This is an open, unnumbered edition (i.e., there is no limit on the print run).

Continue Reading... The Day the Cow Sneezed mini-print

life in the food chain

October 14, 2010

Half-page from unfinished and untitled hand-painted children’s book prototype, ca. early 1960s. The project includes ten words (e.g., “automation,” “characteristic,” “evident,” “powerful”) defined, pronounced and illustrated for young readers. A previous partial page (“fantasy”) appeared on this blog in November 2008.

Continue Reading... life in the food chain

balancing act

October 5, 2010

Spot illustration, dedication page, The Day the Cow Sneezed, now back in print thanks to Enchanted Lion Books. The first review—favorable!—courtesy the For Immediate Release (Kids) blog: I like his habit of calling attention to certain words by putting them in all caps, nearly on every page: POW! WHAMBO! and my personal favorite KA-BLOWIE-BLAM! I also enjoy the language he uses, specific phrases such as “scrunched as flat as corn flakes.” It’s just plain good…

Continue Reading... balancing act
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  • The Mischievous and Diabolic art of James Flora (1914-1998). Glimpses of rare works from the archives and news about Flora-related projects.

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